Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cheesy Southwestern Pork Chops

I don't particularly like going low-carb. My favorite food product EVER is the potato. I don't care what you do with it- fry, mash, bake, scallop- whatever. I will eat that potato.
Sadly, this post is not about potatoes.
However, when it is time to cut out the carbs for a bit, this is one of my favorite go-to recipes. It's gooey and slightly spicy, as well as being quite satisfying. I find that low-carb food leaves me wanting something more a lot of the times (probably a potato), but this recipe feels like comfort food. I have had the recipe for years, but to give credit where credit is due, I'm pretty sure I got the original from the old Atkins website some time ago...

Cheesy Southwestern Pork Chops
2 pork chops (thicker chops work better here. If you use thin chops,you may want to reduce the cheese topping). I used bone-in chops.
A little bit of EVOO (about 1-2 tsp)
1/4 cup tomato salsa
a small can of diced green chilies (4 ozs.)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/3 cup grated Cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons cream cheese

You want to  start with a nice hot pan. For this, I usually recommend not using a non-stick pan. It is usually not good to get those pans hot without anything in them, it can mess up the lining- That is, unless you have one of these new types of non-stick pans that also sear. My new non-stick is some sort of ceramic lined deal that gets nice and hot AND provides a great sear without getting the meat stuck.

Give the pan a go-round with the EVOO- not too much or you will just end up boiling your meat in oil instead of searing it. Get the pan nice and hot over medium-medium high heat. Set the chops in and don't touch them! My biggest problem when I started cooking was that I could not let food just sit and cook... 
I had to touch it and move it and stir it. But that is bad and I smacked myself on the hand and said, "NO!"
 If you are using a non non-stick pan, this is especially true. Wiggle the meat a little with a pair of tongs- when it comes willingly, it is ready to be turned. Otherwise- let it cook for about 5 mins (depending on the thickness of your chops- it took me about 5 mins and these were pretty thick, about 1").

It should have a nice brown crust on the bottom when you flip it. Let it cook for about another 3-4 mins. It should feel firm to the touch when you poke it in the thickest part. There is still another 5 minutes of cooking left so if it is mostly done, that is fine.

While the second side is cooking, mix the salsa, chiles, and cumin. The ratio given here is variable- I actually tend to add more salsa, probably closer to 1/2 cup. The cumin may seem like a lot when you put it in, but it is the key to  the sauce.

When the chops are mostly done, top them with the salsa mix. Cover them and let them cook for about 5 mins, until the salsa is warm and the chops are cooked through. During this 5 mins, mix the cream cheese and cheddar. I usually put the cream cheese into a bowl and nuke it for about 20 sec to get it soft enough to mix. You should end up with an odd looking concoction like this:

Divide the mixture between your chops and spread it over the top. Don't worry if it is too hard, as it melts it will spread. Cover it for about 1 min or until the topping becomes all gooey. Plate it up, serve it with a salad with a nice tangy vinaigrette and you are good to go!


  1. This was fantastic!!! i substituted the green chilis for canned mushroom (only because we didn't have the chilis) and it turned out wonderfully!! Thanks, this one's going in the cookbook :-D

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